Literary devices and conventions are a way to express to a reader more meaning that what is literally written in words on the page. A language arts teacher conducted a study exploring literary devices and their power. These concepts proved the most powerful way in which to, “…give and receive info, offering [readers] multiple ways to make sense of a story (Dallacqua, 2012). These three works have a very complex theme involving multiple variations of different types of people feeling trapped and repressed. Each live in a different time, place, gender role, etc. but each respond to an inappropriate fixation in the wrong way. The thesis is proven as literary conventions and devices of foreshadowing, characterization, and theme provide further insight to the reader.
The use of characterization of Willy, Nora, and John’s wife, tie the works together. First we are introduced to people who seem to be normal. Willy is introduced as a salesman and family man, Nora a beautiful wife and doting mother, and John’s wife a submissive and proper doctor’s wife. As the characters are detailed we learn that they all are fixated on the wrong things. The trapped individuals’ obsessions with these fixations cause each to crumble internally, losing what they once knew to be true of his or her life. As the writers follow the thought processes of each character, the reader can identify a sharp contrast in the development of all three. Nora’s fixation on Torvald’s possible revelation of what she’s done causes her to find herself, and realize that he doesn’t love her the way she does him. This allows Nora to make a positive change in her life. This is as opposed to Willy’s thought process leading to misguided suicide, and John’s wife becoming sicker than ever. Also different is that the reader knows who Nora and Willy are immediately, but John’s wife doesn’t have a name until the end of her character development. “I’ve got out in spite of you and Jane and I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back” (Barnet, Burto, & Cain, 2012).
Foreshadowing is seen in each work. Both, The Death of a Salesman and A Doll’s House foreshadow the lives and eventual outcome of Willy and Nora. In all there is foreshadowing through the use of objects. John’s wife describes the lines of the wallpaper as suddenly “committing suicide”. Nora and Torvald have a conversation about the family Christmas tree not being decorated, which Torvald sees as fine while Nora wants to decorate it (showing their family dynamic). The repeated description of the rubber pipe found in Willy’s garage foreshadows his suicide.
The experiences of all three main characters may be interpreted differently depending on the prior experiences of the reader. The human experience within the works describes the frustration of a life confined by the unattainable dreams of Willy and the controlling husbands of Nora and the woman of the yellow wallpaper. The reader brings past experiences...